Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Inside Cheesie Mack
Writing About an Online Kid in the 21st Century

Cheesie Mack's adventures begin at the end of fifth grade, take him through summer and into middle school. He and his best friend Georgie get in and out of trouble, solve a mystery, tangle with bigger kids, tackle a new school, have fun, and get some life lessons. The stories are exciting and intelligent. Cheesie's a smart kid, a cool kid...but not a genius or anything, nor is he famous, exactly. But he's cool when dueling, and runs like crazy.

With little alteration, the adventures Cheesie describes could have occurred 20 or 40 years ago... and would be just as exciting and intelligent. But they occur now...and that makes a big difference!

He's a child of the 21st century. Cheesie has known only a wired world. But he's definitely still a kid... growing, testing his capabilities, thinking and feeling his way out of fifth grade and into middle school.

Writing about the challenges and delights of childhood in our digital world offers the opportunity to get in synch with today's kids. Websites, email, and social networking are second-nature to them. They are comfortable with technology and expect it to be all around them.

Almost all writers have author websites, and most series and some books have websites to advertise or explain their products. But Cheesie, as the narrator of his own books, has his own website. Is this unique? It might be. (As Cheesie would say, "Maybe you know about another character in a book who has a website like mine. If you do, please let me know.")

Please visit

Cheesie loves lists! At the very end of each book there's a "Not a Chapter" that lists the many unique and ultra-modern connections between Cheesie's stories and accompanying material on his website. That list is repeated online on Cheesie's homepage. Through these connections, Cheesie becomes virtually real to his readers, moving from being just a character in a book to an online friend who shares his interests with and relates to his readers.

Just as Cheesie invites his readers to participate, I invite you to check out Cheesie's website. You might start with the list for BOOK 1:

  1. Cheesie polls readers on what they think the cost of mailing a letter will be in 50 years? Or will letters still exist?
  2. He talks about sow bugs and includes a paper he wrote in fifth grade. (He got an A!)
  3. He gives instructions on how to toss things backwards over your head.
... and 20 others.

Give it a try! Pretend you're 11 again.